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Explore Toronto’s most interesting and significant buildings for free during this annual event running from May 25-26

Doors Open 2024 will unveil some of Toronto’s most prominent architectural, historical and cultural sites to visitors for one weekend—uncovering the untold and hidden histories of the city. Just in time for the weekend’s events, we’ve rounded up some of the sites you shouldn’t miss, each offering a unique glimpse into its vibrant history and innovative design.

Doors Open 2024

Image courtesy of © 2024 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada (Photo: Darren Rigo).

Bata Shoe Museum

May 25 – May 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Think differently about the clothing we wear at the renowned Bata Shoe Museum. Through self–guided tours, visitors can explore the hidden histories of over 15,000 shoes held in the museum’s collection. Step inside the building’s interesting shoebox shape designed by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama to explore three exhibits including Exhibit A: Investigating Crime and Footwear and Dressed to Impress. Design lovers can also catch an art–glass installation by Lutz Haufschild and bronze features throughout by Canadian sculptor Dora de Pedery-Hunt.

Architecture Studio, Toronto

Photography by Scott Norsworthy.

Dubbeldam Architecture + Design Studio Building

May 25 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Prized architecture practice Dubbeldam Architecture + Design will open its Corso Italia studio to the public for Doors Open 2024. Visitors will get a rare inside look into the studio’s inner workings and have a unique chance to better understand its core belief of urban renewal executed through well-designed architecture.

Dubbeldam’s team believes that housing complementary businesses under one roof can encourage everyone to remain creative and exercise entrepreneurial activities among complementary businesses. Take the independent coffee shop on the first floor that connects the studio with the neighbourhood community.

Film Noir

Danielle Dean: Out of this World. Installation view: Mercer Union, 2024. Courtesy the artist. Photo by Vuk Dragojevic.

Mercer Union, a Centre for Contemporary Art

May 25 – May 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

At Mercer Union, Doors Open connects visitors with artworks by Canadian and international artists in a uniquely curated setting with two major exhibitions currently on display.

In a portrait film, Danielle Dean’s Out of this World installation captures the history and personal narrative of her hometown Hemel Hempstead, England. Projected in a monochromatic room of greys, blacks and whites, Hamel is on display for visitors to experience Dean’s real and imagined reality of her hometown.

Sukaina Kubba’s Jealousy: The Voice of the Second pays homage to the Mercer Union building’s history as a cinema. She presents three sculptural works that play with the double-entendre of the installation title’s inspiration, La Jalousie meaning ‘jealousy’ or ‘louvred window’. Kubba blends her artistic background in this installation with her previous experience as an architect.

Spadina Museum from Doors Open 2024

Spadina Museum. Photography by Cass Rudolph.

Spadina Museum

May 25 – May 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Overlooking Toronto upon a ravine, the Spadina Museum is a must-see for Victorian architecture enthusiasts and design lovers. Explore the grandeur of the museum’s interior design and learn the hidden histories of Toronto’s trials and tribulations. Connecting with this year’s theme of Hidden Histories, the Spadina Museum showcases the stories of a society that was completely transformed by emerging technologies and societal change, exclusively for Doors Open 2024. See this change through the lives of the museum’s featured Austin Family.

Guests will be teleported back in time to a Toronto of the 1930s and enjoy the opulent interior design, inventive technologies and captivating Victorian architecture and garden.

Charles Hazell co-founded Taylor Hazell Architects

Photo courtesy of Taylor Hazell Architects.

Taylor-Hazell Architects

May 25th and May 26th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Join Taylor-Hazell Architects for lectures and conversations centred around design excellence. Join Architect Charles Hazell on Saturday, May 25th at 10:30 a.m. or on Sunday, May 26th at 3 p.m. for a presentation and tour of the Junction Heritage Conservation District.

In addition to this tour, visitors can enjoy presentations on both days by the firm’s architects Jon Soules and Jill Taylor. Engage in conversations about forgotten and overlooked images of Toronto by Jon Soules and craftsmanship in conversation by Jill Taylor.

Doors Open 2024

Great Library. Image courtesy of The City of Toronto.

The Great Library, Osgoode Hall 

May 25 – May 26 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Referred to as the jewel of Osgoode Hall, The Great Library is not one to miss for Doors Open 2024 attendees. Experience how the almost 164-year-old library continues to inspire and educate the minds of law professionals.

The Great Library earns its namesake with its towering columns, etched and stained glass windows and finely–detailed domed ceiling. Not to mention this library holds about 125,000 volumes, making it Canada’s largest private law library. Be sure to see the inspiring and stately design of the site that continues to provide resources for generations of law students and lawyers.

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Get a closer look at what you can expect to find in the 2024 New Builds Issue of Designlines Magazine

In the 2024 Spring/Summer Issue of Designlines, we focus on New Builds and “celebrate the profound impact of creating something new, not just as an architectural endeavour but as a testament to laying down roots and shaping the very essence of our city’s identity,” editor-in-chief Joseph Cicerone writes.

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